How to aerate a lawn

It’s important to aerate a lawn at least once a year to enhance drainage and encourage stronger root growth. September is the ideal time to aerate, so find out how to aerate a lawn with advice from Essex turf grower and supplier, Paynes Turf.

Aerating a lawn will encourage grass and its roots to grow stronger and healthier by:

  • Allowing air and water to reach the roots
  • Encouraging water to drain away from the roots
  • Discouraging problems with waterlogging
  • Alleviating problems with soil compaction.

Aerate your lawn once a year, or twice a year if your lawn is often waterlogged.

How to aerate a lawn

Aerating a lawn manually is very hard work, so only attempt to carry this out if you are fit, and your garden is on the small side. Opt to hire a spiking machine or a plug aerator from your local hire shop or garden centre if the area to be aerated is large, as this will do the job much faster and with far less effort.

To aerate a lawn manually, follow this two-step process:

Step 1: Using a garden fork, punch a series of holes in the lawn to a depth of 15cm, and approximately every 15cm across.

Step 2. Use a stiff broom to brush in a mixture of sharp sand and top dressing; this will help water to drain away from the roots more quickly, and help to prevent waterlogging.

To aerate a lawn using a plug aerator, set up the machine then lower the splines and start to push the machine in straight lines across the lawn. Be aware that when the machine first begins to move it will judder and be difficult to handle, so make sure that you keep hold of it! A plug aerator will remove small cores of soil from the lawn and deposit them onto the grass. The holes will be much larger than it’s possible to create manually and will allow air to reach the roots of the grass, and water to drain away from the roots much faster.